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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 10, 2010 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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>> the bookshop matters. especially independent ones. so you are the salt of the earth. good luck to you. [applauding] right. so books about books. what we are not doing is having a funeral for the book. i think this is a time to celebrate books. i have been invited to so many conferences on the death of the book that i think it must be very much alive.
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it reminds me of one of my favorite graffiti which is in the princeton university library in the men's room on the second floor. you may have seen one like this it says god is dead. and then underneath someone writes the nitche is dead signed god. well, the book is not dead. it does not follow that it is having an easy life, but it really is driving. i have got some statistics which i will not share with you. what is interesting is that the number of books published each year increases. the graph goes up and up and up when last measured it was almost 1 million new titles worldwide per year. a million new titles. i mean, the book is doing very well, thank you.
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the notion that everything is digitized and the codex is being replaced by new media is, i believe, simply crazy. not that i am against digitalization. on the contrary. we are doing all we can to forward it. but my point is it is a lesson i'd think we can learn from the history of books or the history of communication in general. namely, one medium does not displace another. we found this out in the case of radio did not despise books. television did not displace radio and so on and so on. in fact we now have pretty good scholarly evidence that gutenberg's great invention did not little displays manuscript publishing, as you probably know. manuscript publishing in the 15th century was a big
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business. there were almost assembly line scribes who are copying at a furious rate in scriptorium. they were doing very well. i think the invention of movable type for the reinvention of movable type stimulated managed production. did not wipe it out. a recent study by a very fine english scholar has demonstrated that managed a publishing thrived throughout the late 15th, 16th, the 17th century, and well into the 18th century. a friend of mine now dead argued that it was cheaper in the early modern times right up to the 19th century to hire scribes to copy of books if you were producing an edition of less than 100 copies. so describe publications continued very well.
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not that i can extrapolate easily, but i really think that digital publishing, the books that you will be reading online are going to reinforce publishing through print. there is a great future actually facing publishers if they can get to people like you through the digital means, what your appetite for a book, and then persuade you to come to a place like the harvard book store and buy. or, who knows. you might use the famous machine down in that corner. i don't know if you have seen it yet. the espresso book machine. it is an example of how the new technology can reinforce the old printed codex. would you do, well, you want to order book. let's say it is a book in the public domain. it will be virtually free, or a book that is in print but his publisher has agreed to play ball with this new machine.
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you order it. you contacted digital data base. the book is down loaded on the computer instantly. within four minutes it is printed out, trimmed, a paperback cover is attached to it, and you walk off within four minutes with a brand new paperback under your arm. the cost is quite reasonable. it varies, of course, but it is an example of how this kind of electronic technology can reinforce the traditional book. so i think we are living in a very interesting transitional time in which the new technology and the old technology, coogan bird and all that, are thriving together. no one quite knows how it's going to work out. when i was an undergraduate at remember the first time i walked up the steps. i looked up at those columns.
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i thought, here is all of the world's knowledge packed into one building. a splendid building, ready situated at the very center, the heart of the campus. that, of course, was a grand illusion. even then it did not contain everything. we now have 16.3 million books as the whole system. if a million new books are being published every year you can see how far we are from having everything. we are not a deposit library. we have not the library of congress. we are the largest university library in the world. by far. so it is a great monument to the printed word and to other forms of communication. however, as i say, that freshmen sentiment, walking up the steps into a kind of a temple of
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learning was, if you like, a grand illusion. it is not shared by freshman today. we have some. i should ask later on. i think most freshmen today feel that all information is online. that, too, is a grand illusion. of course it isn't. so we have got to work our way through these, if you like, colossal cases of collective false consciousness to a greater understanding of things. that is what i'm trying to do in the first of these three books that have come out. this is called the case for books. it deals with a series of interconnected issues. i am simplifying slightly, but i am sounding optimistic. i am convinced that the codex is one of the greatest inventions of all time.
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it will continue indefinitely. despite that and i think it really would be nine yves to say that booksellers and publishers, authors, even readers had it easy. these are hard times. in fact. why? welcoming because of a series of interlocking problems. just like that from the perspective of the world of learning, university presses, graduate students, students of all kind, you could begin with the spiralling cost of a scholarly periodicals, especially, but not exclusively in the heart and sciences. some annual subscriptions to periodicals cost more than $30,000. several cost more than $10,000. we at harvard have to buy all serious scholarly journals.
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we have to keep up with everything. if we started canceling subscriptions our faculty and students with revolt and i would be strung out by the nearest lantern. so we are trapped. in fact, some of these publishers use what we call cocaine pricing. you price the journal had a reasonable level. the readers did have done it. the libraries buy it. you start jacking up the price, and we can't unsubscribed because everyone wants that journal or wants a bundle of journals and so on. the result is not here at harvard where we are continuing with difficulty to buy books and large numbers, but elsewhere. many university libraries are canceling monographs. the journal proportion of their acquisitions is simply squeezing out the book sector.
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in some places, i won't name them, but they are well known to librarians. instead of a 5050 relations in acquisitions between journals and periodicals and monographs it is 80 or 90-10%. so libraries are no longer buying books in large quantities. that means that serious publishers, especially university presses are selling fewer and fewer, and they have given up publishing monographs in many fields, colonial latin america, for example. if you are a graduate student in colonial latin america you can't get your dissertation published no publishing, you pairs, as the slogan goes. so there is a kind of ripple effect that is moving throughout the world of learning in which everything is connected with
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everything else, but it seems to me the new technology is a ground for hope. my own ideal, i am speaking as a specialist. the 18th century called the republic of letters. it is a republic with no police force, no boundaries, complete egalitarianism. anyone can participate. it is rare talent counts. in the 18th century, as i have tried to show in earlier studies, this was an ideal that was in really far from reality. in fact, authors and publishers and so on were always fighting. life was pretty nasty, actually, if you were trying to make it in the republic of letters in the 18th-century. but today it seems to me that we have got new possibilities of really reviving this republic of letters thanks to the new technology.
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we have the espresso book machine, but we have many other things as well. it seems to me that there will be a reorganization of the modes of production within publishing. warehousing will be cheaper. transport will be cheaper. you will be downloading and digitizing and transforming into printed works all kinds of books in a way that would be simply wonderful. it would open up and democratize learning. that is what we are trying to do also in the harvard university library. i had one word to describe the sort of policies it would be openness. we have an open access program that was voted by the faculty of arts and sciences two years ago now. that means that all new scholarship in the form of articles, scholarly articles will be put on an open access repository and made available free of charge everywhere in the
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world. i have created an office for sculley communications which is disseminating this work through the repository and is also planning to expand things so that we will have dissertations digitized and available free everywhere. we will have what is called a great literature also available. that is casual talks like tonight. why shouldn't something like this be made available if anyone wants to see it? all work in progress reports. labs. the possibilities are simply fabulous. share its intellectual wealth and be part of this digital future. that brings me to the subjects
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of google. i will try not to go on and on about google. it is true. google apparently thinks i am attending. it is wrong. i am an admirer of google. i think it will is wonderful. i admire it so much and think it is so good that it is dangerous. because, of course, with this power the attempt to monopolize access to books and the whole world of information, google will have the ability to indulge in cocaine pricing. i feel that we have to have guarantees against that. we need the public authorities to prevent this magnificent thing called google book search from exploiting the public by demanding to high prices through its subscription service, which it will launch. i even think that it could be in the interest of cool to moderate its pricing and to turn itself
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into an national digital library. that is what this country needs. the world of books, it can be done. the president of france announced recently that 750 million euros will be made available to digitize the patrimony of france. why can't we do what france is in the course of doing? it is not easy. it is going to require a lot of effort. it will even require the changing of our copyright laws. now, copyright is another vast subject to be doubled co on and on about it. i am trying to show how all of these subjects that i try to discuss in this book are linked. so as some of you may know the history of copyright goes back really ten this statute at and in 1710 in england. but the key turning point was a
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case in the house of lords in 1774 where it was determined that copyright would not be eternal. it would be limited. the limit would be 14 years renewal. well, the founders of our republic copied the notion of copyright from the british. our first copyright law, which is entitled or the stimulus of knowledge. i have not got the quotation exactly right. the forwarding of knowledge, the encouragement of knowledge. that's it. the copyright law of 1790 was 14 years and another 14 years renewable. a limit of 28 years which i think is great. but the 1998 copyright law, the
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extension act known as the mykonos protection act makes copyright last for a life of the author plus 70 years. that is more than a century in most cases. why? well, in part because mickey mouse was about to fall into the public domain. hollywood mobilized. now we have got a very poor copyright law which is not encouraging the spread of knowledge at all. so we need changes in the copyright law. we need changes, i believe, notably an the regulation concerning so-called orphan books which i could discuss later if unlike. i don't want to go on and on and i would like to mention the other book which i am publishing recently. it has got maybe, i like titles that are sort of amusing. i would like the text to be impossible amusing. one of my ambitions is to make
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my reader laugh aloud. i don't know if i have ever succeeded, but i would be happy if i could sit in their reading room of a white mayor and watch a student read a book and laugh. the enjoyment of laughter is just a wonderful thing. well, it is not going to make you laugh, but the title is. the double in the holy water. i have a subtitle that explains the art of slander. it is a book about what the french call in the 18th century bad books. another expression for them was philosophical books. the police call them bad books. the readers call them philosophical books. they combined wonderful ingredients. they were anti religious.
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they were seditious. they were what we would call pornographic. they make terrific reading. they were, in fact, best sellers. i brought two of them along to show you. maybe this, you can see it too well. that is the size of this book. it is a book that could be sold under the cloak. so imagine a peddler coming up to you and saying. you open that up. of course it would not be bound. it would be. it has done a very provocative piece. you can't see it from back there. it shows a journalist who is firing of cannon shots at everyone and especially the evil powers of a fair side, the old
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regime about. it is a wonderfully wicked book and very funny. i won't go into the details, but you get the idea. it was what the french called a libel. well, i had done a previous study of forbidden books in which i tried to come up with statistics. i was able to trace the demand for 720 titles. of the top 125 where libel. i had never heard of any of them. they were all anonymous. none of them exist in histories of french literature. they simply disappeared from what people think of as the literary history of france. in the 18th century people love them. wonderful, delicious little biscuits, if you like. it is clear from the
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correspondence of booksellers, i read 50,000 letters. these books sold like crazy. the public wanted to read about, here is another nice title, the private life of louis the 15th. four volumes. it is both of sex, but it is also full of politics, and even philosophy. it is a fascinating work. very well written. we have a copy of the translation of the private life in english. on the top and says g washington. we have washington's copy of the private life of louis the 15th. it is not altogether surprising because washington wanted to read about all the sex going on.
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and it is a terrific tale. my argument in this book is that this literature which is enormous deserves to be taken seriously even though librarians did not necessarily stop libraries with it because they thought it was trash. trash is interesting. we need a history of trash. we should take it seriously. why? well, because in part the police of the old regime took it seriously and not just the police but louis the 15th and self. all of the ministers and mistresses and so on who were attracted dragged through the ms like this one. all of these people saw at as horrible and wanted to protect the name, but more than
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protecting your name and your reputation you were protecting your position and a power system. these books, the libels. here is the second. it has the same title. it is called the devil in the holy water. so i have a crib the title from this actual book which was of very important libel in the 18th century. these books that revealed all about the private lives of people in power were seen as powerful themselves. what i have tried to do, aside from analyziheir character in general, is to show how the regime reacted to this literature of libel, partly because it demonstrates the importance of it, at least as seen from the perspective of people in power, but also because it is so much fun.
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i believe that as a writer i want to ride for the general educated reader, not just for other college professors. i hope that the reader will enjoy the tales of how the public authorities in the 18th century tried to suppress libels. it is full of hugger mugger. there are simply amazing stories of kidnapping and assassination attempts, secret agents, agents of the parisian police disguising themselves. they liked to call themselves bearing, phos behrens. a big expense account. they go to england and they try to capture libelous to hit them over the head, put them in a boat, take them to the bastille and get him to squeal. i won't go on and on about the
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adventures of these people, but it is a lot of fun. this book in particular, the french version of the original double in the holy water tells the story of the attempt of the french police to capture libelous. the book was written. they are all anonymous, by the way. they are written by people you have never heard of. and this case the author is one of my favorite characters from the exterior areas of french literary history. virtually no one has heard of him or the book i am about to mention which is the third and last. he wrote this book. he wrote at least half dozen others. he was the most terrible
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libelous that the french police ever ran across. he was hiding in london. the benefit of virtual freedom of the press as it existed in london. frank with the british could not care less if levels were being produced in london and smuggled into france. in fact, they were at war. it was our war that gave us independence, and it was a terrific time for the life of a libel. so this fellow was churning out bibles. he was only one of the whole company of french expatriate to made this the specialty.
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the book sold very well, but they also were excellent for blackmailing the french. so there was a letter. i am a loyal subject of the king and have discovered to my horror that a terrible subject is about to publish a book about, well about, well, about the queen and they came and their relations or lack of relations. it is really distressing for a certain sum every last copy of this edition could be destroyed. so, there is a wonderful black mail operation that takes send to a full year. without going into detail the police finally not having succeeded in kidnapping or they did not manage to buy him off for a whole series of reasons, they adored him to france.
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the french coast. they captured him. they threw him in the bastille where he sat for four years. four years as a long time for a prisoner. the normal period was about four months. it is not a modern prison. he was one of very, very few of prisoners who stayed more than half year. he actually stayed four years and three months. he arrived in 1784. as you may have heard the best deal was nearly empty win the french crowd liberated it. there were seven prisoners at that time. in the late 1780 is the best deal was not full of people.
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just and for relief. one of them was my man. the other who was there for exactly the same amount of time who also was a marquis who also came from the engine ability, the old fuel mobility, and who also was writing novels was, of course. so everyone knows. he is writing these record books. this is the book. the bohes. it is a truly bad book. i found out to my astonishment while tracing the lives of these libelers. copies of this book were available. i can only locate six in the world.
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not a single copy in paris. only one in france. the municipal library. it is a book that completely disappeared from a french literary history just as the author disappeared. but when i finally got my microphone copy from the municipal library and started reading it i thought this is a masterpiece. this is a terrific libertine novel. masterpiece is too strong. i've really wanted to believe it was a masterpiece once i got into it. it is an incredibly interesting book. so i managed to persuade to get it republished. has just appeared yesterday or the day before in paris. has been published in dutch. it is now available in english. i recommended strongly. it is a little shocking in places because it how does the
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description of sex. it is not violent. there is no delight in the suffering of others, but it is very sexy. it is very wicked. it is very anticlerical. it is will of information about the life of hack writers. it turns out is a novel. it is a picturesque novel that is full of information about the sack writers did including the whole colony in london. some of whom went on to be leaders of the french revolution. the most important one is jack pierre presoak. so there is a lot to be learned as well as a lot of fun to be had from this whole world of books from 18th-century france which thanks to the richness of the archives is available for research. that sounds like a commercial. and not really trying to persuade you to buy them.
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i am trying to make a plug for the history books. it is the most exciting field in the humanities. it is a field that is just bursting with energy, new ideas. it is a very active here and harvard. it is everywhere in the world. china. so the history of books is an example of how new life is being infused into the man seized with new techniques and new ideas. we are going places. i hope of harvard university library will be at the heart of this revival of interest in books, the old fashion book as well as the new digital book. thank you very much. at back i think there is time
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for questions. if you have any please don't hold back. he shifts into the mike if you don't mind. >> thank you very much. when it comes to digital publishing, especially when it is enhance of the private domain i am worried about protecting the authenticity of the text. i can compare one copy against another, but how can i compare to digital copies? >> it is a problem. i don't know if you heard the question. how can you be sure of the authenticity of the text. again, i am speaking as an admirer of google. google is like bulldozer. it digitizes everything. digitizes by the shelf. i have seen him do it. i was allowed to watch the process of digitization. it is terrific. that is the only way you can digitize millions and millions of books.
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but your objection is valid. kugel does not ask the best addition. is this edition valid? test this edition have all of the volumes announced in it? lacking one of its williams. now, another great thing about kugel is they say, right. you know, we move fast. we just plunge in. if we make mistakes we will correct them. so i admire their willingness to take the plunge and then to correct things. there is hope that we will get better editions. however, as far as i know they have no bibliographers, no concept of the integrity of the text. instead it is information. massing information. so that has its advantages and its disadvantages. what i hope is that we will have a national digital library that
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will do the job right. i hope that it will happen with the help of google. if you are listening, help. i think that's google, with the collaboration of university libraries, bibliographers, boat people who really understand books to use the database, not for books that are now in print, commercially available books as google calls them, but rather for books that are in the public domain as they are already doing and then books that are out of print but in copyright. if we could take all of these books that would be the totality of books in the english language up to 1923 which is when the copyright laws the tricky. would be fabulous. google would not lose anything by contributing to this cause, and we would all gain.
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>> first of all, thank you very much for your wonderful perspective. some would argue, and i guess i would for my small corner of the world. there are actually fewer readers the books now despite the fact and maybe more titles each year. i hate to even say this, but it is actually possible that students and seniors were students at harvard would go through the entire system and not read a book. that would be typical of a lot of college students. in looking at that, those limitations on what is your thoughts? >> the question in case he did not hear. is it the case that there are more books but fewer readers and could there even the students to go through harvard without reading a book? that, i doubt. it is true that students specialize early. some of them read online. they read snippets frequently or they read extracts or they read
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articles. but the notion of cover to cover reading, continuous reading, and reflective reading, what i call slow reading, maybe that is not a losing cause, but it is retreating. when i was a student here there was a wonderful professor who was a champion of the new criticism. this is when speed reading just was being offered as a technique. brower said, no. we need to slow down. i think in general we need to slow down. why read fast? read slowly. enjoy it. let your fantasy role. i doubt that we have so much of that kind of reading today. it is a loss. however, the history of reading itself is an aspect of the history of books. we have discovered lots of things about how people use to
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read books. they actually read snippets frequently in the 16th 17th, 18th century. we have a fabulous collection of so-called commonplace books. thomas jefferson reads a book. the copies out a passage. he uses that passage later when he is writing something else in his law practice and he was again man. books were often not read from cover to cover in the 17th century. they were bred for ammunition to be used in political battles and ideological warfare. so the history of reading is not this wonderful sort of paradise we have lost, but rather a very uneven terrain in which there were lots of ups and downs. who knows. maybe our ability to do searches now will open up a new kind of
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reading, but i share your lawrie. >> it is great to see you again. i'm not going to say how many years. my question has to do more with hal, for example, the great library that you are in control of or working in, if they in any way relate to the libraries and public schools and particularly kids like my grand kids who are starting an earlier and earlier ages to be so adept on the internet and all those great things. i mean, my granddaughter is a once in awhile. they are actually as far as i can see reading this book. i wonder what you would thinkt. as generations go back to being under whether we do face danger that there will be more emphasis on that. >> i wish i could offer some
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higher wisdom on the topic. speaking as a grandfather myself i also worry about the amount of time, especially if they are testing and driving. i mean, my grandchildren are not nearly that old. how will it work out? i honestly don't know. i think that it is difficult to predict. whenever i try to see into the future i look into the past and use it as a kind of rearview mirror that is protecting things on word. as i mentioned earlier, i think that we can demonstrate a lot of reading in the past was in snippets. people didn't start at the first page and read their way through. they read for specific passages which they could use for
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specific purposes. that is one kind of reading. there were many kinds of reading. in fact, their is a debate among historians of reading about a so-called reading revolution that took place in the late 18th and early 19th century. the argument is that before then there was so-called intensive reading in which people would have one or two books, the bible and pilgrim's progress. they would read them over and over and over again. and then as books became less expensive people became more educated and wealthier with the kind of consumerism that began in the 18th century. instead of reading books more than once they would read a book and then race on to something else, so-called extensive reading that was, some would argue, more superficial. i think that these this is wrong. a lot of other historians would think i am wrong.
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we have a debate around that kind of thing. that is not an answer to your question. i honestly don't know what will become of our grandchildren as they twitter and text and all the rest of it. i do feel that there is something so powerful and persuasive about the codex, that is a book may data pages. they will get it. they will get it. this year force of this invention will make itself felt. so i see a complementarity rather than contradiction. >> ask him. >> yes. sari. >> you had said that coogan berge printing press did not displace manuscript publishing. however, scribes and manuscript publishing eventually and gradually became obsolete and disappeared. do you have any fear at all that
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digitalization will eventually and gradually cause books to disappear similarly even though they seem to be stimulating books now? >> i think it is conceivable that in the very long run we will have a new sort of technology that could replace the codex. i find it hard to believe, but i think it is indeed possible. it could be that 20, 50, 100 years from now we will live in an entirely digitized world. the technology changes so fast that it is difficult to predict. one thing we can do is to follow the changes in the technology. and me, this is maybe a little simple. i would love to a site turning points. 4,000 pc. you get the invention of writing. 1,000 b.c. the get the invention of writing with an alphabet.
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around the time of christ the get the invention of the cutbacks. with a gutenberg you have got printing with movable type. we are collapsing time. the internet dates from 1991. the beginnings of the arpent, as it was called from 1974. and reading with search engines and relevance ratings and that sort of thing, that is yesterday. the google exists and 1998. we are living through a time of increasing technological change. i believe that it is. it is changed now that is so rapid and pervasive that it is comparable to the change produced by coogan berg and company. and so, yes, maybe you are right. perhaps 20 or 50 years from now
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the printed cutbacks will cease to be a force. i hope not, but it could be. thank you. >> go ahead. i had to questions. do you have any practical suggestions on how i can adopt my research inquiries to using the internet? my second question is in terms of censoring books from countries like china and iran, force for more access to books a eventually? what is your thinking along those lines to back. >> the first question had to do with research methods. the second with. it is very clear that digitization is opening up new possibilities for research. let's say you're not used to
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computers, but you are interested in words. you can do word searches and look at semantic fields and discover at what point in time certain words began to be used. since i have been talking about bad books how will give you an example of the word pornography. it is not used in the 18th century pivoted begins in the 19th century. the word bohemians. i think bohemian is an as such, you know, a 19th century phenomenon. but i am trying to show here and also in the novel is that there were, the word was used. you can find the expression in several places in the second half of the 18th century. the title, well, with a proper word search maybe we could get a really very interesting account of how that word when it was
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first used and how it developed. that kind of research you can do without a lot of fancy technological knowledge. i think you would find it useful to be as to, well, you know, the settlement that involved google and the authors, that is the authors guild and the association of american publishers the two-seat google for breach of copyright, this thing we called the settlement gives google the bike in the corpus of digitized books that it is creating to eliminate any books at once. so google, i call this. c-span2 can decide . google can decide not to make books available on its database. the settlement does say if it makes such a decision it will announce it and make the digitized version of this book that is eliminating available to something called a book rights
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registry. okay. that is a little better. the registry isn't going to have a database. so it could be that google as a business will not want to publish anything critical of china. well, you probably followed google's relations with china recently. google was permiting china to sensor its general searching facilities and finally said enough is enough and it will no longer. i applaud google. i think that is wonderful. really, i do admire google. they were censoring for quite awhile in the hope of penetrating into the chinese market. we have seen this happen with rupert murdoch who in his publishing company refused to allow a book to be published with remarks critical of china.
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why? i hope i am not saying anything illegal, but the explanation given at the time was that murdoch wanted to extend his television empire into china and simply was not willing to offend the chinese authorities. the sensor the book. it was published by another publisher. okay. but if you have got a monopoly position and you have the right of that is dangerous. some monopolies could be good in the sense of providing its services. monopolies tend to charge monopoly prices and to abuse their power. we need a public authority that will prevent those abuses. >> one or two more. >> two questions correctly. one is i don't really know what conditions were like. i was interested to hear that they had access to paper and pens and were able to right despite the fact they were in
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prison. my second question is in terms of harvard funding if there will continue to be an emphasis on collecting rare books, books that would not be available elsewhere, particularly old books. >> well, i know that, first of all, it is clear that they broke their books while there were prisoners, but i have done a lot of research in the papers. not all of the papers have survived. it is a little tricky. but i have found a specific reference to one of the, not the guards, but one of the officers saying we will make paper and pen and ink available. there was a library. they could read books there. it even had in 1788 a billiard
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table. and so i imagine them playing billiards. i can't prove it. in fact, i can't prove that they ever met, but they were there for four years. we know that some of the prisoners were allowed to take walks in the garden. we know that they exchanged notes in the chapel. i think it is inconceivable that they did not know each other. it is just that i'd think my man was a much better writer. but that is up to you to decide if you want to compare their novels. as to the buying of books and our special collections in general because we have many special collections in many different libraries. in fact, i am often asked how many libraries we have. i have asked the question myself. the answer was, well, some say 40, and some say 104.
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that was embarrassing if you had to explain what the library system was all about. we have now decided we have 73 libraries. depends on how you define a library. many of these 73 libraries have their own special collections. the flagship of special collections pit we are not going to cut back on buying rare books combine important books. our donors are very generous, and we have many graduates who are willing to give money so that we can continue doing this. we by manuscript's. john uptakes many scripts are here. was not easy, but the graduates of harvard rallied around. now we have a magnificent john updike collection. but his books and his manuscript. i could go on and on.
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>> it is very complex. some donors create endowments. the income from those endowments keeps it going. we depend on gifts, of course. we also have regular endowments and a magnificent staff which is cataloging works and keeping good care of them, and even teaching. i teach a course. they know that these librarians can teach you a lot. so we are trying to make the most of this talent that we have a library in all respects. >> i have a question. the bohemians is clearly a piece of 18th century ephemera. there were only six copies. society is producing a vast quantity of what we would call ephemera.
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how does a library go about deciding what is not, what is desirable? and the question of the updikes manuscript, writers don't do many scripps anymore. the process is drawn. do you have an e-mail archive or something like that? >> the short answer is yes. it is a very, very good question. keeps me up at night. it is true. most works today are digital. virtually every writer writes on a computer. the text is an electronic memory. now, it can be printed out and so on. publishers are working from these electronic text. so even in the case of ambitious full-scale books their is a problem blem of preservation. in the case of the ephemera of
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the problem is enormous. so we have, for example, e-mail most e-mail is disappearing, has disappeared. the e-mail from the white house between 2001 and 2005 apparently has disappeared. there was also the case of the census of 1960. i don't know if you have heard of this. this is the senses of the united states which was kept on magnetic tapes. anyhow, some kind of electronic storage. it was thought that the entire census was no longer available because of the extinction of these archaic kinds of tapes and hardware and software. well, if we lost all sense is that would be serious. in fact, in 1976 a whole corps of engineers was able to reconstruct the census. it was not easy. we have had spectacular examples
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of lost electronic data. then if you think of all the sites justin harvard. i don't know how many there are, but practically every professor has his or her website. many have several websites. web sites are often incompatible, not interoperable with the others. they come and they go. so at the library we feel that this is valuable material. it is of a high scholarly value in many, many cases to be so we are now developing programs to capture the e-mail of harvard, just of harvard. we are talking about millions of the no messages, and to capture websites. it is an elaborate program. it is a costly program. we feel this is part of our responsibility. a lot of this will go into this
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office first telecommunications that i mentioned and the electronic repository it keeps. you are absolutely right. no one in this country or in the world has solve the problem of digital preservation. it is not just that the hardware becomes obsolete and that the sulfur becomes obsolete. it gets lost in cyberspace even if it hasn't eroded. the zeros and the ones can unravel. we can't locate it if we don't have proper met today to, that is a proper description of how to find it out there. so there are enormous problems in digital preservation. i feel it is our responsibility to future generations to solve those problems. so we have something called the library digital initiative. we have an office of information services within the library with very talented computer engineers
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and so on. they are working on it. whether they will solve it i don't know. ..


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